The front cover is the very first thing that a reader will see.
People do make a decision rapidly based on the cover
FIrst impressions do matter
Most writers/authors (Indie) are not graphic designers – but it is really worth getting the cover right.
It is perhaps more simple than you might think.
I would think about the cover design in terms of what your book is about, which seems obvious, but really there is a general image out there that speaks a thousand words for your potential reader.
Obviously, it has to be licenced with creative commons/public domain, or preferably your own image (photo) and/or drawing/painting by a friend who you can credit.
If I want an image to start the process, I type into search engine (google etc) the phrase that would best describe the concept of my book in an image.
I would also search in images or put image in my key word search along with creative commons. This will typically give you a way of seeing images along the theme of your book.
You can check the licence in full if you like an image.
I typically save this image in JPEG and as many are in thumbnail form, I have found a way of blowing these up on my computer screen without losing quality and in Picasa (free) open and minimized screen, I press PrtSc on my keyboard next to F12 and Picasa captures this image (you can see the image being captured on left hand side. Go into Picasa and you can edit your image – crop, use effects ect and even do text. However, I find that the image usually needs further expanding from this size (screenshot) and I take it into Paint and stretch and skew by 300%. Hopefully this will not lose quality. Otherwise, you can try to take a further screen shot with as much of essential (cropped) image remaining and repeat steps until you have at least 300 dpi at the large size of 3000 x 4000 size without losing quality. Now you can build your front, back and spine from your main image idea. I build this modually in Power point and save not as a powerpoint presentation, but other format of JPEG and build my book templates there too. I call this the 3 ‘Ps’ DIY book cover design and it is very creative. ou can play with designs and text. The ‘Ps’ of course stand for Picasa, Paint and Powerpoint.
Enjoy making a first impression with your book cover so that readers will at least find their way into your great literary works.